Stephen Holden

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For 2,178 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 50% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 47% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 2.6 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Stephen Holden's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 59
Highest review score: 100 Alléluia
Lowest review score: 0 Hemingway's Garden of Eden
Score distribution:
2178 movie reviews
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    It makes for continuously riveting, visceral entertainment that evokes a Gallic "Scarface" without the drugs.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    This hilarious fake documentary -- deserves a place beside the comedies of Christopher Guest in the hall of fame of semi-deadpan spoofs.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Putty Hill doesn't strive for overt social commentary. It drops you into a world that the director, who grew up in the area, knows firsthand: a suburban fringe of stasis, downward mobility and lowered expectations.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Near the beginning of the movie, the younger Wexler admits that the film is his attempt to get closer to his father. This sense of personal mission helps make Tell Them Who You Are the richest documentary of its kind since Terry Zwigoff's "Crumb."
    • 69 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The movie is realistic enough to make all corporate climbers, but especially men over 50, quake in their boots. If you are what you do, what are you if you're no longer doing it?
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Mr. Young's passionate cracked whine assumes an oracular power.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The sweet, solemn music of George Harrison, who died two years ago, has rarely sounded more majestic than in the sweeping performances of the enlarged star-studded band that gathered in London at Royal Albert Hall on Nov. 29 to commemorate his legacy.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    A misanthropic dentist, a roguish ghost and a zany Egyptologist: as these unlikely companions scamper around Manhattan in the buoyant comedy Ghost Town, they resurrect the spirits of classic movie curmudgeons like W. C. Fields and such romantic comedians as Cary Grant and Carole Lombard in Woody Allen territory.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    More than an indelible portrait of a sociopath with the soul of a zombie, Tony Manero is an extremely dark meditation on borrowed cultural identity.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Your religion or lack of one doesn't matter. At some point while watching the film, you may feel that music IS God, or if not, a close approximation of divinity.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    [A] pessimistic, grimly outraged and utterly riveting documentary.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Not since "Y Tu Mamá También" has a movie so palpably captured the down-to-earth, flesh-and-blood reality of high-spirited people living their lives without self-consciousness.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Donald Cried is an acutely insightful, exquisitely written and acted triumph for Mr. Avedisian, who understands how the past permanently clings to us.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    By focusing on musicians who are talented but finally not good or persistent enough to succeed in the big time, Not Fade Away offers a poignant, alternative, antiheroic history of the big beat.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Beautifully written and acted, Tell No One is a labyrinth in which to get deliriously lost.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Far from romanticizing creativity and the artistic process, Mr. Baumbach’s films portray the world of painters, filmmakers and literati as an overcrowded, amoral jungle of viperish entitled narcissists stealing from one another for fame and profit.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The glue holding the film together is Adam Newport-Berra's elegant hand-held cinematography, which captures changing shades of winter and the frightened faces in natural light with an astonishing intensity.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Brilliant, over-the-edge concert film Notorious C.H.O. carries candid sexual humor into previously uncharted territory.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Victoria is a sensational cinematic stunt.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Mr. Malkovich is one of the few actors capable of conveying genuine intellectual depth.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The film skillfully interweaves several strands to tell a true story with a happy ending.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    You probably won't feel comfortable when Humanité is over, but as you leave the theater you will feel more alive than when you entered.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    For all the alarming statistics cited in the film, Burn is not a depressing movie. The firefighters interviewed are remarkably resilient men who talk enthusiastically about the adrenaline rush of their work. And the film makes you thankful for members of this macho breed, who relish risking their lives to save others.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Ms. Hunt's eye for detail has the precision of a short story writer's. She misses nothing.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The Hunter never declares who is good or bad or right or wrong. And the implications of Martin's decision when the moment of truth finally arrives are left for the viewer to unravel.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Mr. Sarsgaard gives the riskiest screen performance of his career. Save perhaps for Sean Penn's outbursts in "Dead Man Walking" and "Mystic River," no actor in a recent American film has delivered as explosive a depiction of a man emotionally blasted apart.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    This is the exceedingly rare film that understands how lonely, insecure preadolescent children can become so consumed by their feelings that they lose sight of ordinary boundaries and unconsciously act out their parents' darkest fantasies of passion and revenge.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    By the end of this reflective, wise, often hilarious movie, you feel as though he (McElwee) has slapped a huge chunk of raw, palpitating life onto the screen.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Superstition, witchcraft, exorcism, talismans that ward off evil: in this land of the supernatural, irrationality prevails. But War Witch is so cleareyed that it makes you wonder how much more irrational this world is than the so-called civilized one under its camouflage of material wealth.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Not a horror movie but a witty, expertly constructed psychological thriller.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The wonder of the movie, which Mr. Beatty wrote and directed from a story he wrote with Bo Goldman, is that it is so good-humored. Fools and idiots abound, but demonic, systemic evil does not.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    This comic jigsaw puzzle is crammed with deliriously funny little bits.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The tone of the narration is so wrenchingly honest that the film never lapses into self-pity or relies on mystical platitudes.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Wildly entertaining, sexy and beautifully shot in the Canadian heartland.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The concert scenes find the stage awash in such intense joy, camaraderie and nationalist pride that you become convinced that making music is a key to longevity and spiritual well-being.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    This is a scary but inspiring film with real heroes and villains.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    So good it leaves you starved for more.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The degree to which Smashed refuses to indulge a voyeuristic taste for the kind of sordid details exploited by reality television amounts to an unspoken declaration of principle. In lieu of self-pity, Smashed substitutes tough love.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The story is deepened with a distinctively European political subtext as the increasingly grandiose Mesrine engages in a running dialogue with various characters about the differences between gangsters and revolutionaries.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Paul is not a sociopath like Tom Ripley, and the movie does not convey the same diabolical Hitchcockian sense of being manipulated by a slightly sadistic master puppeteer. As the story sprawls across the screen, it darts from one incident to the next as though it were inventing itself as it goes along.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    One of the most sophisticated dog movies ever created.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Witty, exquisitely fine-tuned screen adaptation of Nick Hornby's 1995 novel
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The kind of movie that seduces you into becoming putty in its manipulative card-sharking hands and making you enjoy being taken in by its shameless contrivance.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    This wisp of a movie doesn't pretend to be more than a series of disconnected vignettes in a moody story that sometimes seems invented on the spot. The boy, for all his eccentricities, is a healing spirit who, without realizing it, gives Rose the fortitude to face her problems and resume her old life, for better or for worse.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Like no other film about middle school life that I can recall Monsieur Lazhar conveys the intensity and the fragility of these classroom bonds and the mutual trust they require.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    Blind evokes a dreamy, dour fusion of Charlie Kaufman and Ingmar Bergman. Its few flashes of wry humor are outweighed by mystically beautiful images.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 90 Stephen Holden
    The movie’s unblinking observation of a friendship put to the test is amused, queasy making, kindhearted and unfailingly truthful.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Most of the humor is too lighthearted to offend all but the most reverent believers, and the movie’s inventiveness rarely flags.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    The Skeleton Twins is a well-written and acted movie about contemporary life that doesn’t strain for melodrama and is largely devoid of weepy soap opera theatrics. A small, precise, character-driven vignette, it has no pretensions to make any kind of grand statement about The Way We Live Now.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Ms. Rozema has made a film whose satiric bite is sharper than that of the usual high-toned romantic costume drama.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Establishes its mood of playful erotic suspense in the first 10 minutes and sustains its cat-and-mouse game between therapist and patient through variations that are by turns amusing, titillating and mildly scary.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Mr. Mendelsohn's ability to evoke a child's-eye view of a suburban environment is the most seductive element in a movie whose primary attraction is an atmosphere so heady that you can almost taste it.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    The accumulation of sharp candid flashes adds up to a disturbing vision of Los Angeles as a teeming jungle of dysfunction.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    It all has a ghostly feel, like eerie murmurs during a séance: the static of history heard on a short-wave radio.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Despite its shortcomings, this smart, caustic movie is easily the most incisive and realistic comedy of manners to emerge from Hollywood in quite a while, and that's saying a lot.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    A grim, disquieting mood piece.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    The son's search is one of three strands of a story that the movie weaves into a meticulously structured portrait of a complicated man who remains elusive even after key elements of the puzzle have been pieced together.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    But most of the movie's notes are appallingly right.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    A bleak, lyrical meditation on the frontier spirit and American machismo and its torments.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    The movie partly resists the temptation to follow a predictable feel-good route to a fairy-tale ending. That said, it has enough conveniently timed little triumphs to send up warning signs.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    With an intensity that few movies have mustered, The Business of Strangers makes you feel the acute loneliness of it all.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Marguerite overstays its welcome by at least 20 minutes. What redeems it is Ms. Frot’s subtle, deeply compassionate portrayal of a rich, lonely woman clutching at an impossible dream until reality intrudes.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Blurs the line between comedy and epic drama so adroitly that the two styles fuse into something quite original: a lyrical farce that pays homage to its period in any number of ways.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    In Changing Times, Mr. Téchiné, the great French director, is near the peak of his form. Weaving a half dozen subplots, he creates a set of variations on the theme of divided sensibilities tugging one another into states of perpetual unrest and possible happiness.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Ron Howard's bittersweet adult comedy, Parenthood, lays out an entire catalogue of psychological stresses afflicting family life in white middle-class America, then asks if the rewards of being a parent are worth all the agony.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    If it all adds up to too much for one film to encompass with ease, Monsieur N, is certainly richer than most of what you'll find on the History Channel.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    What sets the "Stuart Little" franchise above most of the competition is its emphasis on sharply drawn character and its profusion of witty remarks (mostly from the mouth of Snowbell) that are cutting enough to amuse grown-ups without sailing over children's heads.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Combines pieces of an extended interview with this Canadian singer-songwriter, poet and author, now 71, with a tribute concert organized by Hal Willner at the Sydney Opera House in January 2005.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    There is more raw vitality pumping through Romance & Cigarettes, John Turturro’s passionate ode to the sensual pulse of life in a working-class neighborhood of Queens, than in a dozen perky high school musicals. This is a movie in which a dirty mind is a good thing. Call it “The Singing Id.” Prudes, be forewarned.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    A cinematic ballad of such seamless construction and exquisite tonal balance it transcends most of the pitfalls of movies that aspire to a classic, lyric simplicity.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    It is impossible not to be fired up by Kurt Kuenne's incendiary cri de coeur, Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Intimate, compelling film.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    It infuses a too-familiar story with so much heart that you surrender to its charm and forgive it for being unabashedly formulaic.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    In the knockabout world of animated movies, Piglet's Big Movie is an oasis of gentleness and wit.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    For all its softening, The Good Lie, like “Monsieur Lazhar,” has a core of decency, humanity and good will that feels authentic. You won’t curse yourself for occasionally tearing up.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    The movie's sense of emotional claustrophobia is underscored by a complete lack of interest in Middle Eastern politics, or in anything outside the troubled family unit.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    A moving documentary that approaches the Holocaust from a fresh, intimate perspective.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    As this movie, directed by Isabel Coixet, tracks the deepening friendship between people from different cultures and backgrounds, it acquires an unforced metaphorical resonance.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Because movies have become so invested in the unleashing of violent emotion and the escalation of hostility, that expressions of restraint, reconciliation and forgiveness can easily be read as corny cop-outs. Cry, the Beloved Country is not corny, and it doesn't cop out.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    It places Basquiat's art in a cultural context with an enthusiasm and zest that make the many pictures shown come blazingly alive.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Pola X has enough fireworks to keep you in your seat. When it's over, you'll know you've had an experience.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    The quiet humanity of the performances infuses the movie with a truthfulness that outweighs its flaws.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Famuyiwa's dialogue is easygoing and witty, and the warmhearted comic performances mesh beautifully.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    There is not a decent (or even half-decent) male character to be found in Chaos, a gripping feminist fable with a savage comic edge.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    With all its quirks, Gerry seeps into your pores like the wind-whipped sand that stings the faces of these disoriented hikers.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Mr. Paradot’s performance is so viscerally intense that there is no escaping its force.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Honey, the impressive debut feature by Ms. Golino, sustains a contemplative mood with undersaturated cinematography that evokes the world as perceived through a light mist.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    The integrity of the film, whose directorial team has collaborated on numerous Belgian documentaries, extends to its sad final moments, in which nothing is left neat and tidy.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Jesse Wigutow's screenplay is one of those marvels of economy, idiomatic facility and well-chosen detail that knows exactly when to cut away from a scene without grinding it into your face.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Although Igby has its share of glitches and tonal inconsistencies, it packs an emotional wallop similar to that of another cultural golden oldie as beloved in its way as "The Catcher in the Rye": "The Graduate."
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Ms. Rabe’s beautifully balanced performance reminds you that people never really grow up.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    In portraying this threesome, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard and Uma Thurman give the most psychologically acute performances of their film careers.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    For all its harsh allusions to slavery and hardship, the film is an extended, wildly lyrical meditation on the power of African cultural iconography and the spiritual resilience of the generations of women who have been its custodians.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    The movie uses the talent show Afghan Star as a prism through which to examine the fragmented tribal culture of Afghanistan as reflected in the backgrounds of four finalists (two of them women) and the public responses to their performances.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    In its harshly realistic scenes... it stirs your blood.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    Run & Jump is as real and messy as life itself.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    A sleek, whooshingly entertaining update of the vintage television series.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    The evenness of its emotional pitch almost incidentally helps the film become an unusually deep exploration of sports, machismo and the competitive spirit.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 80 Stephen Holden
    If this handsome, faithful, intelligent screen adaptation of the novel doesn't leave you devastated, its ominous sense of a rarefied moral and aesthetic world bending before the accelerating streetcar of history will leave you with a mournful sense of loss.

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